Dita Von Teese, burlesque royalty, designer of the Von Follies lingerie line, and Cointreau ambassador, satisfies her desire to eat well by chasing down delicacies in Paris, where she has a soufflé named in her honor at Le Cigale Recamier, and seeking out simpler charms when back home in L.A. “I’m spoiled. I get to go to a lot of great restaurants,” Von Teese tells Grub Street. “But sometimes I just want real food and no sauces and foams and white tablecloths. Some days I just want to find a simple, old-school steakhouse with red leather banquettes, but I really love watching someone transform vegetarian food into something glorious.” So what did Dita ravish this week? Come take a look in today’s L.A. Diet.
Wednesday, November 7
I woke up a little bit late, so I grabbed an apple to eat in the car on my way to Pilates. I also made green matcha latte tea with almond milk to-go.
For lunch, I sliced heirloom tomatoes, avocado, and chopped basil with a sprinkling of Himalayan sea salt. It was delicious. Later, I made an almond-milk shake with cinnamon, vanilla paste, chia seeds, and a bit of banana. It satisfied my sweet-tooth and I felt full until dinnertime.
I made an early-bird dinner at home, slicing kabocha pumpkin and roasting it with coconut oil and sea salt, one of my favorite home-alone meals. I also make a simple lime-basil salad dressing from Kimberly Snyder’s book The Beauty Detox Solution and poured it over a salad of baby spinach, tomato, and celery.
I went to a party with my friend. We got hungry and decided to go to one of our favorite Hollywood restaurants, The Hungry Cat, where our friend and genius mixologist, Danielle Motor, works. She’s always creating new cocktails for me, and tonight she made an exotic cocktail with fresh persimmons and smoky mezcal. We shared a green salad with dates, pumpkin seeds, and grilled kabocha, followed by a plate of raw hamachi with yuzu, mint, and Asian pear.
We don’t usually eat dessert, but the scent of something cinnamon-y came wafting out of the open kitchen. We called out to the chef and asked what it is. Freshly baked beignets? We begged for one bite. Two minutes later, one single little beignet laced with chocolate arrived with two forks. Perfect.
Thursday, November 8
I woke up very early and had hot water with lots of lemon and ginger and then went to Pilates. Afterwards, I made a green smoothie with baby spinach, mango, and fresh mint. I had several meetings at my house, so I made myself a pot of Violette-rose tea that I bought in Paris at Mariages Freres, my favorite tea shop.
For lunch, I ordered in from Café Gratitude. I had my usual “I Am Fortified” bowl, which is sautéed vegetables, kale with quinoa and avocado, and a sinfully rich tahini sauce.
Before my dinner date, I was starving, so I cut an avocado in half and sprinkled it with an intensely scented, smoky sea salt I bought at a spice market. Avocados with various exotic sea salts are one of my favorite snacks.
For dinner, I had a slice of pizza topped with squash blossoms, pesto, and burrata. I don’t often eat bread and cheese, but I couldn’t resist eating something so beautifully presented. I also had a piece of roast chicken, but it was overshadowed by a baked sweet potato on the side. I would have been fine with just that. I also stole a truffle french fry off someone’s plate. I simply cannot resist black truffles.
Then I had a bite of a hot chocolate-chip cookie. I’m not a big dessert fan, but I always look at the menu. I scan it for something with fresh coconut or an interesting type of soufflé, or some other kind of unique dessert. I hate to be disappointed by ordinary sugary-sweet desserts, and things like molten Death-by-Chocolate cakes do nothing for me. I’m a bit of a dessert snob, it’s true. I don’t diet; I save my indulgences for when it’s worth it.
Friday, November 9
I was up early for the Von Follies lingerie shoot at my house. I had my usual green smoothie, which is always some variation on Kimberly Snyder’s famous “Glowing Green Smoothie.” I have it every day. Today I made it with romaine, spinach, cilantro, fresh ginger, and pineapple, with a bit of ripe banana. Everyone asks me for the secret to good skin. Put down the cigarettes, slather on the sunscreen, get your beauty sleep, and drink your greens!
I sat and had my hair and makeup done, and sipped Lapsang Souchong. I am so obsessed with smoky tea that I’ve made the mysteriously smoky Lapsang Sounchong the basis for my new perfume. Just before we started shooting, I had a little bowl of homemade granola with almond milk.
The crew had Thanksgiving-style turkey lunch catered by Love Catering, which sounded great, but didn’t really jive with being photographed wearing lingerie and keeping my energy up all day, so I opted out.
I called my favorite vegan-raw restaurant Cru only to find out that they’ve closed, with no plans to reopen. I was devastated! I still have an unused gift certificate. I pulled myself together and ordered from Bulan. I had Vietnamese summer spring rolls with fresh mint, pumpkin in a spicy-basil sauce over brown rice, and a dish called “crisp faux fish with apple,” which probably sounds strange, but is one of those dishes I fantasize about when traveling.
After the shoot wrapped, I started to order in sushi, when I got a text from Danielle at the Hungry Cat that simply said, “fresh uni.” She knows how much I love uni, so I canceled the sushi order, threw on a dress, and minutes later I was seated at the bar alongside several other solo-foodies.
I had a plate of oysters and scooped uni from the shell and sprinkled it with sea salt, along with a dirty vodka martini. For my main course, I ate seared arctic char served over celeriac puree with brussels sprouts. For the grand finale, Danielle made me a special version of a classic Sidecar, made with fruit and pear-infused cognac. It tasted like a summer version of the Sidecar, which was nice on this rainy L.A. evening.
Saturday, November 10
Second day of shooting, up at 7:00 A.M. I made the green smoothie with spinach, kale, green apple, cilantro, fresh ginger, and pineapple. Don’t knock it ‘til you try it. An hour into hair and makeup, I made a pot of Mariages Freres rose-violet-perfumed “Serenade” black tea.
On set for lunch, I had a buckwheat soba noodle salad, grilled green beans, and I also sampled one of the mini chocolate cookies for dessert.
Near the end of a ten-hour day, I was asked if I could muster up energy to perform two burlesque shows at a party. I looked at the clock and decided I had better eat soon so that I could cinch my corset in a few hours without much suffering. It’s a tricky thing, the pre-striptease-show meal. I ate some leftover Thai brown rice with sauteed shiitakes from the day before. Confession: One of the most inelegant habits I have is standing up and eating out of the fridge when I’m starving or in a hurry. But since I was shooting pictures for my lingerie collection, I happened to be wearing black stockings, a garter belt, and five-inch heels at the time.
After my show, I was exhausted and found myself rummaging through the fridge again. I do love leftovers. I was raised to finish my plate or save it for later. I once had a boyfriend that refused to eat leftovers. What kind of guy won’t eat a turkey sandwich the day after Thanksgiving? Red flag!
Sunday, November 11
For breakfast I had my smoothie with spinach, parsley, ginger, celery, and apple. Then I toasted a slice or two of millet bread, spread on truffle or tarragon mustard, smashed avocado with sprouts, and finally, a sprinkling of black truffle salt or porcini mushroom salt.
I met a group of friends for a pre-electro-dance-party dinner at Red Hill in Echo Park. I sampled the kale salad with celeriac and apple; kobocha soup with parsnip; roasted beets with farro, fennel, and hazelnuts; spicy roasted cauliflower; and mushroom ravioli with chard, ricotta, and almonds. I’m not a vegetarian, but lately, meat just isn’t doing it for me. In L.A., we have so many fantastic haute vegan options. We skipped dessert because we were all too full.
Monday, November 12
That morning we had a Flaunt shoot at my house for my dress collection. I had my smoothie, but secretly wished I had the afternoon off to indulge in brunch. In my fantasy, I’m at Hugo’s with an oatmeal frittata and scrambled eggs. I had Mariages Freres’ Chandernagor, which is a spicy chai delicious with almond milk.
I was hungry about an hour later so I toasted a piece of millet bread and had it with ripe avocado and Lapsang-Souchong sea salt sprinkled on top. For lunch, I ordered in from Gingergrass, a neighborhood Vietnamese restaurant. I had their house lemongrass salad and vegetable pho.
For dinner, my girlfriend and I were craving tacos, and my favorite local spot Alegria is closed on Sundays, so we went to Malo in Silver Lake. We ordered margaritas, and I specified that they be made simply, just as the original recipe was. I am vehemently opposed to margaritas made with any syrups, agaves, or bottled lime juice.
We ordered a smorgasbord of tacos: fish, beef and pickle, squash blossom, and spicy shrimp. We also ordered sautéed cactus. Too spicy for me. Our eyes were bigger than our stomachs. We ordered chicken molé, but I have to say, I wasn’t impressed. My favorite local molé is at Mexico City in Los Feliz.
I’d overeaten, which is what usually happens when I eat tacos, which could be my favorite non-healthy thing to eat. When I’m traveling, good Mexican food is what I miss the most.